Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Another Color Question: Ork Army Scheme?

by SandWyrm

Hello SandWyrm,

let me start with saying that I like the three articles about color theory on your blog very much. It was very informative, but I still got a question.
My second army after eldar will be a ww2 styled "blood axes" ork army, using 1:35 tanks from various war-factions and heads from the micro art guys from poland. I don't want a too historical look, because if I wanted that I could just collect a Flames of War army. I'm more in favor of a comic-styled color scheme, esp. since blood axes do try to copy IG schemes, but fail horribly since they overdo it most times with adding colors, who don't work well in terms of camouflage. 

My first idea was to go for a desert war styled army, since the only other options would have been green or grey. Orks are already green and grey is the main secondary color for my eldar army.

Now, if I take split complement approach and use green (skins) and yellow/brown (desert colored uniforms/tank hulls) as analogous colors, wouldn't some kind of blue be my complementary color?  In my book a single analogous scheme would give the army a too serious look, so I used the color wheel to get a matching complementary color. Does that sound wise to you or do you have any other idea, starting with yellow/brown for the tanks&uniforms (I may move away from orks being green, but I don't want to move away from the desert war idea)?

Cheers Nicco 

Farmpunk and I talked about this tonight, and this is what we came up with:

Paint your Orks in Black and White!

You see, they're hot to copy some Guard Camo, but the only pics they have came off of a black-and-white lazor printer. So the whole army (except for their skin, hair, mouths, etc.) is painted in a greyscale version of whatever it is they saw! So you'll have green Orks in a grayscale battlewagon with some desaturated orange airbrushed up onto the bottom of the chassis to simulate accumulated real-world dirt.

It should be quite striking in a Sin City sort of way. :)

Farmpunk also had an idea that maybe you could paint your armor and equipment with one primary color missing; as though the whole lot of them was red-green colorblind or something. But that would just tint everything either magenta or cyan, which IMO would be kind of boring.

Any other ideas?


  1. colorblind Orks are awesome!

    actually the idea of orks only seeing in greyscale (except for green/red) is one I think is funny. everything painted random (by greyscale), EXCEPT for their skin and blood.

    I actually think a greyscale type of winter cammo is nice. then put in a bright red, to make everything go FASTA!

  2. That might be why Goffs look so striking.

    I like blue with my Deffskull Orks, but I'm no color expert.

  3. Black & White is a great combo (I know from painting up some Sons of Malice miniatures recently). But I agree with Farmpunk - there needs to be some nice, bright contrast colour to liven things up (reds, light blues, etc).

    Here's a random off-topic thought: if an ork is red-blind, do they still go fasta?!

  4. Yellow's opposite should be purple I think, in the same way red is opposite green. Its part of why NMM 'golds' use purple washes in recesses to enhance the yellow highlights by making them appear brighter in contrast. Who says studying art has no 'real life' applications...

  5. Crosser, you need to read my recent series on color theory:


    Yellow's opposite, under this more modern color wheel, isn't purple, it's blue.

    You're thinking under the old traditional painter color model, which isn't used by anyone but old-time painters anymore. The digital art, photography, and print industries have quietly moved on. Personally, I haven't used that old wheel professionally since I graduated from art school.


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